Unpopular book opinion: Excerpts/Previews


Have you noticed the trend recently of authors and publishers releasing excerpts/previews/sneak peaks? They’ll market them as huge news! or a giveaway! or even a pre-order bonus. When I go to book conferences, many authors give them away at their signing tables.

But here’s the thing.

I don’t read excerpts. In fact, I prefer as little preview of a book as possible. That wasn’t always the case. As a kid, I didn’t know a lot about book news, but I obsessively followed the trailers and hype for movies. And eventually I learned that I enjoyed a movie less when I’d seen all the good parts first. The jokes are less funny when you’ve watched clips of them ad infinitum. But in my early years around the book community, I did the same thing. I’d read the synopses and the previews and follow all the pre-release hype. And no joke, I have sitting on my shelf right now 2 books that I pre-ordered last year and still have not read.

I’ve realized that excitement about a release often has more to do with the event than it does the story in the book. When I get caught up in hype, it’s normally about being part of the community–fangirling with other fans, getting likes and retweets from authors, participating in the collective hullabaloo.

Enjoying stories, on the other hand, happens most often when I pick up a book out of curiosity. “Hey, I think I’m in the mood for this.” “Oh, I remember people posting about this. Let’s see what it’s about.” Some of the books I’ve enjoyed most are the ones I didn’t know much about ahead of time.

So I don’t read excerpts or synopses anymore. And I kinda wish publishers would stop making such a big deal out of them. Even if, from a marketing standpoint, I understand why previews are an easy move.

Side note: nonfiction is a different story. I read The Undoing Project 100% because of excerpts released as articles.

What about you? Do you love excerpts and previews?

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Discussion Post: Readers & Fitness


Ok, let’s talk about a thing that bothers me. (because what else is a blog for??)

You know this idea that readers/bookworms/writers are secluded nerds with no athletic ability or physical fitness?

[If you don’t know, it’s totally a thing. See pictures.]

Logically, this stereotype sorta makes sense. It’s not very easy to read while exercising (although the prevalence of ebooks & audiobooks has made it lots easier!). So when we grow up, we have to choose between reading or playing sports. And most people choose one and mostly ignore the other. It’s a real thing. Bookworms like their tea/coffee & blankets. Inside. Not exercising.

hermioneBut I have a lots of problems with this stereotype. Not because I don’t like blankets or coziness. (I don’t drink tea or coffee. I knooooow, it’s weird! You can stop throwing things.) Also, not because I think jocks/athletic people can’t be bookish (they definitely can be).

I’ve been very systematically observing bookworms for a few months now (maybe a year? what is time???) and I’ve reached a conclusion.

Ready?

Lots of readers and writers love moving and being outdoors. Like, really love it.

Writers talk/write/post often about how physical activity helps them sort through plotting/writing issues. They walk. They run marathons. They do yoga (or aerial yoga–looking at you, Gwenda Bond!). And I’m sure many of them are active but don’t post about it.

 

Readers are the same. I play soccer. I run. Have played sports basically my entire life. Readers carry huge stacks of books. Readers play with their dogs. Readers stand in long lines to meet authors.

But here’s the most irritating thing about this stereotype.

We–the readers, the writers, the lovers of books–perpetuate it. We embrace it. 

I’m far more likely to share a funny book meme than something about running. I’m more likely to post a picture of my book than a post-workout selfie. It’s time for that to change.

Can we make bookstagram/booktube/book blogs/etc. encompass all our interests? Can we stop pretending that we all live in book burritos all day?bookburrito

Can we ditch this idea that readers avoid outdoors and activity at all costs? We’re strong enough to imagine others complexly. (h/t to the Green brothers, obviously)